April 24, 2010

THE QUOTE THAT ISN’T A QUOTE: This piece in The Isthmus, a Wisconsin alt-weekly, quotes me as follows:

I actually emailed Glenn Reynolds, another law prof blogger from Instapundit, about this issue, and he told me that he thought Althouse’s blog could qualify as “relevant” academic work.

This was the email I received:

On your site you write that you consider Instapundit to be within the realm of the “public service and education” component of being a law professor. Do you believe that Althouse’s site would similarly qualify?

I answered:

As for the second question — sure. Not all of her posts are about law, of course, but then that’s hardly a requirement.

I never actually used the word “relevant,” which is presented in quotes. This isn’t a big deal — and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve been misquoted — but it’s a bit odd, though it doesn’t misrepresent my meaning, really. Maybe there’s another email I’m not finding via Gmail search? Anyway, I do think blogging is part of “public service and education.” My Dean has said that blogging counts as scholarship, even encouraged me to use research assistants for the blog, but I’ve never done that — for whatever reason, I’ve always tended to keep the blog its own thing, largely distinct from my day job. (Not all blogging lawprofs do that, though; some even host their blogs on university servers.) But I think blogging is more like writing opeds or book reviews than scholarly publication, at least most of the time. Occasionally one of my blog posts will morph into a law review article — like Is Dick Cheney Unconstitutional? or Libel In The Blogosphere — but even when they do, it’s the scholarship that’s really the scholarly output, with the blog just serving as an idea-generator. But there’s not much question that blogging and scholarship overlap a lot more than people once thought.

As Orin Kerr notes, “I think we’re seeing a shift in how law professors and legal journal editors view blogs. The old lines have blurred. Blogs have become a significant part of the scholarly conversation.”

Meanwhile, some thoughts on scholarship and mixed blogging from Stephen Bainbridge.

UPDATE: Reader James Graber writes: “As a non-academic, my reaction is that those are scare quotes or emphasis quotes, not quote quotes, and you are making too big a deal of it. Just my two cents worth.” Hmm. Normally in journalism, things that are quoted are quotes. But possibly. And maybe The Isthmus doesn’t follow journalistic protocols that closely.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The author emails: “Thanks for the link Glenn! Sorry about the quote issue –– I could have sworn that was the word I had used. I would have been more vigilant in an actual article –– that was just a quick blog post response to Althouse’s response to my article.”

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